The Airbus A350 XWB (extra-wide body), a long-range mid-size jetliner, is currently under development and is due to enter service in late 2013. Originated as a direct competitor to the Boeing 777, and some models of the Boeing 787, the Airbus A350 will be fitted with the very latest in design and advanced technology, and boast 25% lower operating costs than standard long-range airliners. Qatar Airways will be the launch customer, with the Asian Pacific leading demand for the new Airbus A350 over the next few years.
Airbus A350 - Latest in technology, fuel-efficient
Created for optimum fuel-efficiency, maximum passenger comfort and enhanced profitability, the Airbus A350 includes the latest in technology and aerodynamics. Main features of the advanced Airbus A350 include the use of lighter composite materials, a wider fuselage cross-section able to accommodate 10 passengers per row, and a 25% reduction in fuel consumption. Airbus A350 has three versions - the A350-80, A350-900 and the A350-1000 - with the family designed to provide an advanced range of size and range capacities to suit the market and its future demands. All the versions share the same cross-section, engines, cockpit and operating systems, and use fly-by-wire controls, with a major innovation in the design of the Airbus A350 is in the materials used. Over 70% of the airframe, including the fuselage and wings, will be made from advanced carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which helps to lower fuel consumption, as well as being easier and cheaper to maintain than other materials.
Airbus A350 - Innovative new composite materials used
The A350-900 is designed for mid- to long-haul flights, and will be the first aircraft in the series to enter into service, scheduled for 2013. It can seat 314 passengers in a three-class configuration, and boasts the standard A350 fuselage, with its cross-section being 5 inches wider than the closest competitor in its category, creating wider seats, as well as more headroom and overhead storage capacity. The shortest aircraft in the family, the A350-800 accommodates 250 passengers over three classes, and has a range of 8,500 miles, boasting the same wide fuselage and composite make-up. The third version, the A350-1000, is the longest, seating between 350 and 440 passengers depending on the configuration, and fitted with larger wings, a higher engine thrust and a strengthened landing gear - all optimising performance.